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8 Best Companion Plants for Tulips (With Pictures)

tulip flowers in the graden

Tulips are an enduring classic in any flower bed, but they don’t bloom for very long. Judiciously using other flowers to brighten the garden before tulips bloom and when they’re fading is the key to effective gardening.

Let’s check out some of the most popular and beautiful companion plants for your tulips next season.

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The 8 Best Companion Plants for Tulips

1. Crocus

crocus flowers
Image Credit: Pixabay
Bloom time Early spring
Height 6 inches tall
Zones 3–8

Crocuses are well-known for being early bloomers, with some blooming before spring has truly arrived. This is a great overlapping bloom period for your tulips, and their height is perfect too—crocus will sit comfortably right beside your tulips without stealing any of the spotlight or sunshine. Like tulips, they prefer full sun and don’t like soggy soil or wet feet.

2. Virginia Bluebells

virginia bluebells
Image By: lampwright, Pixabay
Bloom time Early spring
Height 1-2 feet tall
Zones 3–8

Virginia bluebells are similar to crocus in that they tend to bloom in early spring, but they’re a little bigger and sometimes bloom at the same time as tulips. This makes them a safe bet to mix with your tulips and get some variety in your springtime flower beds and bouquets.

As a bonus, bluebells die back in the summer and regrow the following spring. If you hate to reseed every season, they’re a great option for a colorful garden.

3. Grape Hyacinth

grape hyacinth blossoming
Image Credit: Pixabay
Bloom time Early spring
Height 6–9 inches tall
Zones 4–8

For a large flower bed, grape hyacinths are an ideal fast-spreading companion for tulips. The asparagus or grape-like clusters are at home next to beautiful tulips, crocus, or daffodils.

They’re fairly flexible and do well in box planters with tulips and other wildflowers, as long as you can meet their 10-week dormancy period.

4. Pansy

Image Credit: Anelka, Pixabay
Bloom time Spring to early summer
Height 6–9 inches
Zones 2–9

With a pretty purple-and-yellow color scheme and a suitably complementary height, pansies are a suitable choice for growing alongside tulips. They’re very cold hardy, blooming in the spring to late summer. In mild climates, pansies will bloom all season. They’re most useful paired with tulips and other wildflowers in box planters, or you can use them as groundcover for your tulips and other flowers.

5. Daffodil

daffodil flower
Image By: Pixabay
Bloom time Early spring
Height 4–20 inches tall
Zones 3–9

Cheery white and yellow daffodils are a fantastic complement to the more luscious purple and red tulips. They bloom around the same time and prefer moist but not soggy soil. They have dainty feet that don’t like getting wet either.

Daffodils are also easy to control because they spread by clumping. Grape hyacinth and other fast-spreading flowers freely reseed, but you don’t have to worry about out-of-control daffodils.

6. Shasta Daisy

Shasta Daisy
Image By: Veronika_Andrews, Pixabay
Bloom time Mid to late summer
Height 9 inches to 3 feet tall
Zones 5–9

Daisies and other sunflowers are great cover plants for when tulips are fading. Their tall height draws attention away from wilting, browning tulip leaves that you can’t cut off. The foliage fits in very well with dying tulips and then grows the trademark white and yellow daisy flower heads. Daisies also prefer well-draining soil like tulips.

7. Nasturtium

Image By: pasja1000, Pixabay
Bloom time Early summer to early fall
Height 1–10 feet tall
Zones 4–8

Nasturtium has a huge variety, from tiny 1-foot-tall plants that will mingle with dying tulips or larger trees that will effectively cover late and dying tulip foliage. As a bonus, nasturtium is known to repel dastardly aphids, which love tulips.

Nasturtium can usually last until the first frost of the year and come back when tulips are fading. Nasturtium is also edible and used as an alternative to watercress in salads.

8. Marigold

African Marigold
Image By: sarangib, Pixabay
Bloom time Spring to early fall
Height 4 inches to 4 feet tall
Zones 2–11

Marigolds are an undemanding companion to tulips, with shallow roots and a love for full sun. They’re a striking, fiery complement to the more understated tulip. They persist longer than tulips and cover up fading tulip foliage very effectively with wide, fern-like foliage. African Marigolds are one of the best choices for pairing with tulips in the garden.

divider 4 Worst Companions for Tulips

The most notable plants you should avoid planting near tulips are vegetables that you intend to eat. Tulips and daffodils contain alkaloid compounds that can cause serious side effects if consumed, and that goes for veggies planted nearby as well. Do yourself a favor and keep your vegetable garden completely separate from your flower beds.

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Tulips are a brief but explosive perennial in the garden, and they need friends to truly shine beyond their brief blooming period. Try pairing them with some classic daisies, daffodils, or even freely seeding crocus to watch them thrive and transform your beds.

Featured Image Credit: StevanZZ, Shutterstock


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